Most Improved - Royal Ascot Day 1 19.06.2012

Improved puts Fallon
back in the big time

Report: Royal Ascot, Tuesday

St James's Palace Stakes (Group 1) 1m, 3yo colts 

FORMER champion jockey Kieren Fallon cemented his place back in the big time with a first Royal Ascot victory since 2010 on Most Improved, in a race marred by the death of The Nile.

Minutes after his champion Frankel landed his 11th win in the Queen Anne Stakes, owner Khalid Abdullah suffered the disappointment of losing the Listed-placed The Nile, who was put down after badly injuring his front leg rounding the final bend.

As William Buick pulled him up in the middle of the pack he hampered several runners, including 3-1 favourite Power, while the Brian Meehan-trained 9-1 winner was hitting the front.

He went on to beat 9-1 chance Hermival by two lengths with 14-1 chance Gregorian in third and Irish raider Born To Sea powering down the centre for 4th at 8-1.

It was a change of luck for Iraj Parvizi's colt having suffered so much interference in the French Derby at Chantilly last time out that he lost both his front shoes.

Meehan said: "When he ran in the French Derby nothing went right and Kieren was pretty upset about the race. We thought about going for the Tercentenary Stakes because of it, but the owner called me and said why don't we stick to the plan. Thankfully we did."

Fallon, enjoying his 29th Royal Ascot win, added: "He's a lengthener rather than a quickener. I've ridden him at home and I know how good he is. He's a beautiful mover and has a great attitude. He's going to keep improving."

My Betting Account

THINK Flat racing and most think of Royal Ascot. The hats - running the gamut from stunning to misguided - the pageantry, the Queen in her carriage, the tops 'n' tails, the champagne on lush green lawns and, not forgetting, the incredible racing come together to form one of Britain's most iconic sporting events.

Over five days in mid-June the nation's great and good descend upon the royal racetrack for an occasion rich in every sense - in heritage, in sporting merit,and in the vast array of wealth represented by the crowds of dukes, earls and oligarchs strutting before the grandstand.

For mere mortals Royal Ascot is a chance to watch and wonder at the elaborate outfits donned at the Berkshire racecourse and watch in wonder as the cream of British and Irish Flat talent square off against each other and - increasingly - the steady stream of raiders from Australia, America and other corners of the globe.

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